Mayor Adler’s State of the City Address Part 9: Environment

And because we know that we and our children and grandchildren won’t have much of a future if we don’t halt man-made global warming, each of us – as residents of a city, a state, a nation, and the world — must do all we can to save our planet.

As your mayor, I’m proud to have joined almost 400 other US mayors to adopt, honor and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. I reiterated our commitment last October at the Paris Climate Conference and again in December when I signed the Chicago Climate Charter at the North American Climate Summit.

Last year this Council, thanks to the leadership of CM Pool, upped our renewable energy goals from 55% by 2025 — to 65% by 2027 (and asked for a plan to get us up to 75%). This is one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country. And we’re well on our way toward meeting that goal. We’re beginning the process to close our only coal plant and increase our use of renewable clean power at Austin Energy.

Last year we bought more solar and wind to push us over 50% renewables by 2020. The economics of such energy have gotten so competitive, that the last renewable energy contract signed by Austin Energy will serve to reduce the rate-payer cost.

Tonight, we talked about lots of big ideas. Here is one you might not have heard about, but it might be the biggest one of them all. This year, we will work on one of the most important projects in our city’s history and a big part of our future– a 100-year water plan for Austin. This long-range water plan will ensure that as Austin continues to grow we have a diverse, reliable water supply for the coming century.

This plan should have strong recommendations to strengthen our water conservation programs and to expand our reclaimed water system. And, I expect the plan to advance relatively new, but reliable technologies, such as Aquifer Storage and Recovery, as a way of storing large amounts of water underground to avoid excessive evaporation.

The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining, and the time to prepare for the drought is when the lakes are full.